Carmel man killed in grill explosion at Noblesville church
Fire investigators are trying figure out exactly what caused a deadly gas grill explosion at a Noblesville church Monday night.
It happened at Grace Community Church on 146th Street near Hazel Dell Parkway. Police say 52-year-old Doug Gripp was working near the grill when the explosion happened.
The church's senior pastor David Rodriguez called Gripp "a beloved volunteer."
"We believe in God. We follow Him," explained Rodriguez. "But this is just one of those times, we just have to fall on our knees, put our palms up and just trust him."
Such trust comes at a time when members of Grace Community Church are still in shock after a gas grill exploded while about five people were standing near it. Gripp was killed, no other injuries were reported.
"We're still looking into the 'Why?' We're probably not going to have answers today, tomorrow or maybe even weeks to come," said Noblesville Police Department Lt. Bruce Barnes.
Investigators hauled away the gas grill involved in the explosion. The church was getting ready to host a barbeque for about 400 men to kick off a year of men's ministry at the church. The event was canceled after the tragedy. The 52-year-old Gripp often cooked and served food for those in need. He was a long time member of Grace Community Church. Church leaders say it was his grill that exploded. There were other church members who witnessed what happened.
"It's very difficult to help our men who were here, our men in the ministry and then our congregation and anyone for that matter," said Rodriguez.
Rodriguez said other church leaders went to the home of the man who died and tried to give comfort to his family.
"We're in shock. She's in shock and we are trusting God for her life, for their life and for the family and the people here," said Rodriguez.
Despite the tragedy, the church still opened its food pantry.
"It was a hard decision, but there are people who have needs and people who are hungry and we decided, that we needed to proceed," Rodriguez explained.
From here, the road to healing is likely to be a long one. There are over 5,000 members who belong to this church, some who have now witnessed one of their own die.
Rodriguez said the church plans to be open all day Tuesday with church leaders available to pray and talk with anyone who needs help coping with this tragedy. Pastors will be available in the Central Auditorium starting at 9 a.m.
The church says Gripp is survived by his wife, Judy, and two young daughters.